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Saturday, December 21, 2002

Thoughts on the Run

I always seem to be posting here immediately prior to a mad dash to an airport. Oh, well.

Aside from being about 90 minutes late, the trip from New York to Chicago last night was uneventful. LaGuardia is not my favorite airport. They have a penchant for signs with tortured English: "All international passengers with luggage including Canada..." Wow. International passengers trying to sneak out of LaGuardia with an entire North American country secreted in their Samsonites. I imagine the overweight baggage penalty would be onerous.

The food court featured a MIDI-driven Yamaha upright Diskclavier, a 21st-century version of a player piano. The device was spouting a variety of strangely arranged Christmas tunes, including a rather stunning intertwined medley of "We Three Kings" and Ravel's "Bolero". You supply your own imagery here. I was hoping for another jingly juxtaposition, maybe "Away in a Manger" and "Like a Virgin", but I had to answer the boarding call.

Long back to back trips are oddly convenient. Instead of unpacking, I just drag my suitcase down to the laundry room, empty it into a washer, transfer the stuff to the dryer, and then unload the dryer and repack my suitcase.

Lost item score: a hat, a pair of gloves, and one sock. The hat and gloves I can understand, but I don't remember the sock. Must be the new enhanced security procedures.

Back to Pittsburgh for the holidays...

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Friday, December 20, 2002

Ping Pong Travel

Another couple days of transportation mayhem. I leave New York for Chicago this evening, provided I can find a cab to the airport. After a stimulating late night and early morning of bill paying and clothes washing, it's back home to Pittsburgh at noon tomorrow, where I arrive in time to attend the missus' employer's Christmas Party.

No time for much this morning... just a thank you to executive producer Sharon Newman and the good folks at ABC World News Now, who let me hang in their control room early this morning and let me say "Hi Mom" before the special Christmas version of The World News Polka.

Time to pack. See ya.

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Thursday, December 19, 2002

While visions of Jerry Orbach danced in my head?

Okay, I'm totally disoriented today.

Because of a late Tuesday dinner meeting and an early start Wednesday, I was totally zonked when I got back to the hotel at 4 pm yesterday. Aside from a brief telephone conversation I think I had with the missus, I was unconscious until about 2 am this morning.

It was one of those situations where you're aware you're dreaming, and you find yourself asking, "why in hell am I dreaming about this?"

Now, Jerry Orbach's one of my favorite actors, and many people who watch Law and Order don't realize he was a Tony award-winning actor/singer early in his career. But why am I having a dream in which Jerry is showing me around New York, affectionately referring to people as "mooks" and marking my City Guide so I can find all the OTB locations?

Remember, I'm thinking this while I'm still asleep; a multi-threaded somnabulistic program, if you like. Finally, the pieces seem to come together. It's Thursday night, and I'm asleep instead of watching Law and Order, one of the handful of programs I make an effort to see. I'm in New York, where Orbach first made a name for himself in The Fantasticks as El Gallo. Perhaps these two items triggered the dream.

The recursiveness goes up a notch. The observer me asks the me strolling down Lexington with Jerry if that's the reason for the dream. I ask Jerry (who is, in another level of recursion, playing his Lenny Briscoe character), "Hey, Lenny, whatcha think?"

He says to me, "The mook may be on to something. It's enough to take to the DA."

"You think so?" I ask.

"Sure. The DA can indict a ham sandwich. Hey, I gotta run. Remember, never buy a Rolex from a street vendor for more than ten bucks."

Then I woke up, and sat at the edge of the bed for a half-hour pondering the significance of my experience.

If Sam Waterston shows up tonight, I'm definitely adjusting the medication.

But I'm hoping for Jill Hennessy.

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Wednesday, December 18, 2002

Your government at work

If you're interested in a fascinating demonstration of the advanced technology the FBI uses to monitor your computer activity for potential terrorist threats, just look here.

Draw your own opinion:

In fairness, there are pictures of just about every recent President looking through capped binoculars. It makes one wonder if there's an ongoing in-joke within the military to set up the Commander-in-Chief in an embarrassing photo op. You'd have thought the White House Press Office would have caught on by now.

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Tuesday, December 17, 2002

The age of cynicism

A cynic is a man who, when he smells flowers, looks around for a coffin.-H.L. Mencken

Or maybe just "experienced." After, say, age 45, you find that not much surprises you any more.

Trent Lott: an old white guy from Mississippi is potentially racist. Wow. There's a stunner.

Al Gore won't run. I don't even think he really even wanted to pursue another bid for the Presidency. He deserves credit for his recent Saturday Night Live appearance, in which he elevated self-parody to an art form and, in retrospect, a penultimate catharsis. I never really cared for him, but I admire his droll sense of humor: "You win some, you lose some, and then there's that little-known third category.".

The Iraqis may not be revealing everything to U.N. inspectors about their weapons of mass destruction. Gee, I'm disillusioned. Saddam seems like such an honest fella.

Boston Cardinal Bernard Law is going to spend some time at a monastery. In baseball, this is referred to sending a player back to the minors.

Insert celebrity name here is entering insert over-priced substance abuse clinic name here. Oh, yeah. Stop the presses.

Time to hurl myself back into the mayhem that is Manhattan.

This is New York, and there's no law against being annoying.-William Kunstler

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Monday, December 16, 2002

No strike, no matter.

No transit strike, which is a relief, given my experience with transportation in New York over the weekend.

I ended up walking just about everywhere. The crowds were unbelievable. Cabs were shelter from the rain and cold; they weren't actually moving enough to be considered transportation devices. Here's a friendly tip: if you're going to New York, always make certain your destinations are north or south of your hotel. East-west movement is problematic, to say the least. I actually beat a cab from Third Avenue and 52nd Street to Seventh and 47th, which was rather satisfying since the s.o.b. had jumped in front of me at my hotel.

Coincidentally, my mother was in town (she'd scheduled a bus tour a few months ago), so we took the Gray Line tour, had dinner and saw Phantom of the Opera. Great seats, although the second act sounded more like a tuberculosis clinic than a Broadway musical. I'm also suffering from a rather nasty cold, but I had the decency to load up on enough dextromethorphan to stun a moose.

Irony: the only celebrity we spotted all weekend was Pittsburgh playwright August Wilson, who was standing outside my mother's hotel. A charming and erudite man, we spent a few minutes comparing New York and the Steel City.

I spent most of Sunday in bed, thanks to my cold, which should bloom into a stupdendous case of bronchitis in time for my return home at the end of the week.

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So there.  
The kgb@kgb.com e-mail address is now something other than kgb@kgb.com saga.
kgbreport.com used to be kgb.com until December, 2007 when the domain name broker Trout Zimmer made an offer I couldn't refuse. Giving up kgb.com and adopting kgbreport.com created a significant problem, however. I had acquired the kgb.com domain name in 1993, and had since that time used kgb@kgb.com as my sole e-mail address. How to let people know that kgb@kgb.com was no longer kgb@kgb.com but rather kgbarkes@gmail.com which is longer than kgb@kgb.com and more letters to type than kgb@kgb.com and somehow less aesthetically pleasing than kgb@kgb.com but actually just as functional as kgb@kgb.com? I sent e-mails from the kgb@kgb.com address to just about everybody I knew who had used kgb@kgb.com in the past decade and a half but noticed that some people just didn't seem to get the word about the kgb@kgb.com change. So it occurred to me that if I were generate some literate, valid text in which kgb@kgb.com was repeated numerous times and posted it on a bunch of different pages- say, a blog indexed by Google- that someone looking for kgb@kgb.com would notice this paragraph repeated in hundreds of locations, would read it, and figure out that kgb@kgb.com no longer is the kgb@kgb.com they thought it was. That's the theory, anyway. kgb@kgb.com. Ok, I'm done. Move along. Nothing to see here...

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